Daniel Onguene



Daniel OngueneBorn 1995 in Bafoussam, Cameroon
Works and lives in Douala, Cameroon

The period of independence, some sixty years ago, saw the creation of the first fine arts schools on the continent, the first individual and group exhibitions, festivals and other events. The euphoria of this freedom, at times hard-fought, the nationalist movements, the return to roots and origins, all this enthusiastic speech was transferred into the works that we admire from Dakar to Yaoundé via Brazzaville! Africa was beautiful, it could finally mix its voice with the concert of nations, its identity became a source of pride and everything had to reflect this faith in a better tomorrow that would inevitably sing.

A generation later, many cries of joy have died down, disputes have arisen, African unity has been shattered and the march towards development raises questions in all segments of the population. The rural exodus causes its multiple ravages, which are multiplied tenfold by a general atmosphere of laxity and fatalism. The countryside hit by all manner of human and natural calamities is being emptied in favor of cities which were not designed to absorb such large population growth.

Read more about his biography

Problems arise at all levels of life for the city dwellers. Accelerated urbanization no longer obeys the slightest standard. The networks, whether electrical or sanitation, are suffocating under the weight of anarchy and lack of maintenance. Finally, the few industries that have been able to exist, of poor size, true "white elephants" as the artist calls them, collapsed. Plagued by "structural adjustments", liberalization policies have been rolled out at all costs. For example, the opening of borders to productions from all over he world, China in particular, is alluded to in some of the artist’s work, the domestic sectors that tried to survive no matter what.

It is this Africa of today, and this very disenchanted youth of Africa, that Alexis Daniel Onguene Tassi seeks to represent, like many artists of his generation, who at just twenty-six years of age, made their sensational entrance into the artistic creation of our continent.

It is true that he has a master's degree in visual arts and art history, with a focus on painting, obtained just two years ago at the Institute of Fine Arts of the University of Douala in Nkongsamba; he shows a surprising mastery of his technique. He was distinguished and awarded at the age of twenty by the Jack Bell Gallery in London, who scrutinizes the most promising talents of contemporary African art, thanks to a competition open to art schools on the African continent. He continued his journey, exhibiting several times in the best galleries in Cameroon, including the MAM Gallery in 2017 under the curatorship of Simon NJAMI. The present exhibition at the Out of Africa Gallery is the first real exhibition of Onguene’s work on the European continent.

The "Adventure Between the Ruins" project, which he presents to us here, questions, in his own words "the causes of the emergence of the informal sector in Africa". Illustrated on the gray backgrounds of a chaotic world, almost already buried in the past, the daily life of these anonymous “heroes”, painted with precision in a very figurative way, who strive to survive however they can, through the practice of an exhausting multitude of "odd jobs”. One wonders how they manage to feed themselves and even their families.

There is a great deal of empathy in Tessi’s work, which shows in the affection and respect he demonstrates in his characters who remain dignified when they are not dynamic and combative, in bright and spicy colors, despite the harshness of the times. He even manages to convey a bit of symbolic hope, as in the particularly illustrative work entitled "The Life After the Fall". It features a former industrial worker who appears among ruins in the background and who seems to bear all the misery of the world on his shoulders. His four wives are lined up along a wall behind him, but all of them are pregnant and therefore bearers of life and hope. Past, present and future brought together in one and the same allegory which is also a good representation of the message of the artist whose career is to be followed with interest.

Sylvain Sankalé
Art Critic
Dakar, Senegal

List of shows and art fairs

Urbana facta, galerie du carré, Bonapriso Douala Cameroun 2020,

Art 2020, patrimoine contemporain, espace Doual’art Bonanjo, Douala Cameroun 2020.

The kay Galerie Any KADJI Bonapriso, Douala, Cameroun 2019.

Mooving frontiers, do an undo/faire et défaire, paris France 2018 (restitution de l’exposition organisée au à Douala au Cameroun en 2017)

Mooving frontiers, do an undo/faire et défaire, douala Cameroun (projet post master incluant les étudiants diplômés de l’école nationale supérieure d’art de paris Cergy, assistés par les étudiants de l’institut des beaux-arts de l’université de Douala à Nkongsamba, en partenariat avec l’institut français du Cameroun et le centre d’art contemporain Doual’art),

Salon Urbain de Douala (SUD 2017), la place de l’humain, exposition off Avis de tsunami, Galerie du carré des artistes douala Cameroun,

Who are my people, gallery MAM, à l’issue du projet “atwork chapter 9”, commissarié par Simon Njami.

Jack bell gallery art price Londres Angleterre (à la faveur d’un concours d’art ouvert aux écoles d’arts du continent africain)

Available artworks


. Daniel Onguene - Beautiful as the Makossa Banana - 2021 - 168cm H x 200cm W - Acrylic on canvas - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/BB-Daniel-Onguene---Beautiful-as-the-Makossa-Banana_900x700.jpg


All artworks


. Daniel Onguene - Beautiful as the Makossa Banana - 2021 - 168cm H x 200cm W - Acrylic on canvas - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/BB-Daniel-Onguene---Beautiful-as-the-Makossa-Banana_600x600.jpg




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